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French Wine

France is synonymous with fine wines and, despite the popularity of wine from the New World, French wines remain the benchmark against which all other wines are judged. French wine production is steeped in history dating back to the 6th. century B.C. and traditions which go back to the time vineyards were planted widely by the Romans. The success of French wines is rooted in the geography and geology of the country. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the land-mass of Europe on France's climate together with the rich diversity of propitious geology and soil types have enabled the establishment of ten wine growing regions of the best quality alongside a large number of other vineyard areas.

The German influence of Alsace, the celebration that is Champagne, the crisp herbal qualities of the Loire whites, the complexities of Bordeaux and Burgundy, the decidedly different wines of Jura in Franche-Comté, the fruitiness of Beaujolais and the power and sun-drenched ripeness of the wines from the northern and southern Rhône as well as the wines from Provence, the Languedoc and the South West exemplify the wide range of wines and styles of table wine that underline France's pre-eminence in the world of wine.

France was the first country to enshrine its wine production in law – the development of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system in the 1920s successfully introduced minimum standards both in the vineyard and winery and related this inextricably with the concept of “terroir”, an idea which unifies geographical location, soil and sub-soil, grape variety, climate (including micro-climate) and viticultural practices. The number of AOC wines in France now numbers in excess of 300 some of which are from very small vineyard plots with tiny production levels. Others, such as AOC Côtes du Rhône, cover vast areas with a commensurate production volume.

Despite the large scale transition to other cash-crops in the flatlands of the south of France since the 1970s and an even greater emphasis on quality wine production France continues to be the world's largest wine producing country. The challenge of so-called New World wines from Australia, South Africa, Chile etc. has been the motivation for some producers to explore possibilities outside of the AOC system and plant different grape varieties to make what some perceive to be more popular, easier drinking, styles of wine. Such wines are now sold under the classification of I.G.P. (Indication Géographique Protégée) as part of new E.U. regulations governing their former title of Vin de Pays. Some of these wines can be very good indeed and command high prices in the market-place.

  1. Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac, 2005

    Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac, 2005

    This wine is proof that top quality Pauillac doesn't have to cost the earth. Lovely blackcurrant fruit with a firm tannic structure.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  2. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 1996

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 1996, is a full bodied Bordeaux exuding sweet black fruits, with hints of tobacco, spice and oak, a degree of minerality and ripe tannins.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  3. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2002

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2002

    A more reined-in claret than many modern wines and one with an evolved palate and aromas.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  4. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010

    One of the best wines of the vintage and certainly the best value for money in Pauillac that year.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  5. Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classé, 2005

    Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classé, 2005

    This wine should be decanted for an hour or so before drinking but is an absolute triumph. Will continue to develop for another 10 years.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  6. Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1969

    Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1969

    As it nears the end of its fifth decade this wine still has much to offer the lover of extremely fine well-aged red Bordeaux.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £579.99

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  7. Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1983

    Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1983

    Wonderful vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild with a deep, rich colour and lively nose of mushroom, tobacco, blackcurrants and olives. A beautifully balanced medium-bodied wine with a smooth texture of satin and a long finish.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  8. Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1986

    Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1986

    Described by no less an authority than Robert Parker as being a perfect wine, an opinion shared by everyone who is fortunate enough to taste this marvellous Pauillac.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  9. Château Clerc Milon, Baronne Phillippe de Rothschild, Pauillac, 1970

    Château Clerc Milon, Baronne Phillippe de Rothschild, Pauillac, 1970

    This wine was produced in 1970 making it very special indeed. Expect complex cedary and ripe black currant notes. The label on this bottle is slightly damaged and the level is just below the shoulder.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £38.59

    Out of stock

  10. Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1963

    Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1963

    A fully mature magnum of this famous first class growth from Pauillac, Bordeaux.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    £490.30

    Out of stock

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